Does Your Dough Pass The Windowpane Test?

windowpane test dough
So, you've heard that good dough passes the 'windowpane test' but what the heck's that?

This post explains how to tell if your dough is failing the 'windowpane test' and what you should do about it.

During the kneading stage, you can tell if your dough is sufficiently kneaded by the following method.

NB I do not advocate this as a necessary step. You know me, I'm more of a two-minute kneader. I don't suppose my dough ever passes this test but my bread still tastes great.

Anyway, for those who wanted to know...

The Windowpane Test

Take a small piece of your dough and stretch it to form a thin membrane.  The dough should be so stretchable that it forms a translucent ‘windowpane’ – in other words, you should be able to stretch out a layer of dough that is thin enough for light to pass through.

Help! My dough failed to make a windowpane, what should I do?!

Panic!!

No. Seriously don't.

If you really do want your dough to actually pass the windowpane test, you have to keep kneading. Then knead some more. Knead for quite an unnecessarily long time and keep repeating the test until you succeed.

I have tried it, by the way, and the resulting bread was no better than usual, so I conclude that it is a waste of time.

I never carry out any such test on my dough.  And, by the way, anything but the whitest of bread will never pass the windowpane test, since the lumpy bits will 'spoil' the texture.

Simply knead until the dough loses its stickiness and becomes easily workable, then leave it at that.

You might really love eating home made bread but you do not have hours to devote to the baking process.

For me, kneading has to be quick and efficient.  Five minutes is probably my maximum unless I’ve made my dough too sticky by mistake.

So, in short, knead for as long as you want to – or can – longer is probably better but three to five minutes will suffice.

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